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Norton Multi-Oilstone IM313 - I think this is my last sharpening system - updated with video

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Review by ChicoWoodnut posted 1969 days ago 14079 views 3 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Norton Multi-Oilstone IM313 - I think this is my last sharpening system - updated with video Norton Multi-Oilstone IM313 - I think this is my last sharpening system - updated with video Norton Multi-Oilstone IM313 - I think this is my last sharpening system - updated with video Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have been looking at this system for a couple of years now. I finally decided to click the buy button and I’m glad I did.

Like most of you, I have tried a lot of sharpening systems. Here are the ones I have tried and the reasons I decided to buy this one and lay the rest aside.

  1. Scary Sharp - A good system if you like buying sandpaper all the time. I used it for a long time. The cost of consumables quickly adds up.
  2. Work Sharp - A good system but ditto on the consumables.
  3. Water Stones - I own two. They work great. They cut fast. They also dish quickly and even get gouges in them with my smaller chisels. Bottom line, they are hard to keep flat. I intend to buy some gouges soon. I can’t imagine what a round edge would do to a water stone.

So the two problems I am trying to solve are the consumables of sandpaper methods and the need to flatten water stones.

My approach

  1. Get a system I like
  2. Learn to use it
  3. Stick with it

Here are two links that actually convinced me to go down this road.

Oil Stones

Guide to honing and sharpening

This system works for me and I am very happy with it. I even tossed my Veritas sharpening jig in a drawer and decided to put a little effort into learning to sharpen without it. That’s another lesson though.

- The Crux of the Biscuit -

I ordered the IM313 from The Best Things

It is the Norton IM313 Multi-Oilstone with Hard Translucent White Arkansas and medium Crystolon, fine India.

The system consists of three 1/2” X 11 1/2” X 2 1/2” Norton oil stones all mounted in a rotating holder sitting in an oil bath tray. Included is a bottle of Norton sharpening oil.

The item arrived in good shape via UPS ground. It was well packaged too.

Here are the three stones from medium to fine.

A Medium Crystolon (Brown) – This synthetic stone cuts very quickly without leaving a lot of scratches that need to be polished out.

a Fine India (Orange) – This synthetic stone leaves a very nice almost complete polished surface.

a fine natural translucent arkansas oil stone – This is a beautiful piece of rock. It feels like glass to the touch. It doesn’t cut as fast as a water stone but it doesn’t dish either. It will last a couple of lifetimes.

I used the system to re-sharpen all my chisels yesterday evening. I am very happy with the outcome. I made a video that I’ll be posting in a blog in a little while.

I can highly recommend this product if you want a system that does not require consumables, is always ready when you are and gives fantastic results. It is a little pricey but arent they all?

—Video update—

I shot some video of my third attempt at free hand sharpening on this system. I’ts not very impressive and there are a couple of things I have changed since shooting it. The biggest one is that I don’t do the round and round pattern when flattening the backs any more. I just go back and forth. Removes material faster and produces better results.

In the video I keep saying that “it really isn’t that hard”. Well that’s probably true but I haven’t mastered it yet either. Once I get more proficient I’ll try to post a video blog. I just thought it might be interesting to record one of my initial attempts with the product.

So here it is complete (and too long) with the sound of the neighborhood mocking bird included free of charge. By the unknown sharpener.

-- Scott - Chico California http://chicowoodnut.home.comcast.net




View ChicoWoodnut's profile

ChicoWoodnut

904 posts in 2452 days



21 comments so far

View Woodchuck1957's profile

Woodchuck1957

944 posts in 2400 days


#1 posted 1969 days ago

Chico, I was a meat cutter for about 17 years, I worked at a couple packing plants and a meat market. I think about every place I worked as a meat cutter they had one of these Norton systems. They are a very proven product that has lasted the test of time. Hopefully they are still made in the USA.

View TheCaver's profile

TheCaver

288 posts in 2476 days


#2 posted 1969 days ago

I’ll agree that Norton makes great products, now you just need a Tormek (or one of its cheaper equivalents?)
to go with it!

As a sidenote, I’m leaning towards that purchase due to the fact that a hollow ground surface does away with the need for microbevels and such. Thoughts?

JC

-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

View marcb's profile

marcb

762 posts in 2310 days


#3 posted 1968 days ago

I thought about that system, but ended up with a different set of oil stones. Still happy that I went with oil stones.

If you want a piece of advice that I received after getting educated on oil stones, use WD-40 as the lube at least for the coarse stones.

The lube is a good and bad thing when it comes to sharpening. It is supposed to float the swarf and not let it into the pores of the stone. However a thicker oil like the norton oil ( have an entire quart of if) floats on top and has a hard time filling in the stone. This leads to a longer sharpening time as the metal has a hard time reaching the abrasive. And the stone can get filled up with swarf.

Since switching to WD-40 my sharpening time is very little and the stones cut quickly. To that I can only add make a strop with a Hard maple backing and get some cheap diamond paste (50,000 mesh, or approx .5 micron)

The strop can freshen an edge a few times before needing to go back to any stone, and help polish up the edge after the finest stone.

View ChicoWoodnut's profile

ChicoWoodnut

904 posts in 2452 days


#4 posted 1968 days ago

Hi Woodchuck – Yes, they are still made in the USA!

JC – You are trying to put doubts in my head. Just when I thought I had vanquished them all. Hah!

Seriously though, the Tormek is a nice system. I think you are correct about the hollow grind. I just can’t see myself spending that much cash. If I had a production shop I might, but I don’t need to sharpen that often (unless I do something clutzy)

Marcb – Thanks for the tips. I had read that adding a little kerosene was a good idea too. Thins down the oil.

-- Scott - Chico California http://chicowoodnut.home.comcast.net

View cmaeda's profile

cmaeda

205 posts in 2190 days


#5 posted 1968 days ago

I also prefer oil stones for their durability although I do like the expensive Shapton stones too. I have never seen this system. Does it come with any way to flatten the stones? or do you have to buy that separately?

View marcb's profile

marcb

762 posts in 2310 days


#6 posted 1968 days ago

Chicowoodnut,

See my recent blog entry. I used a regular grinder for the first time and don’t see a problem with using a real grinder with a regular grinding stone if you need any grinding.

Its not as hard as you may think it is, I know I was always paranoid about trying it.

View Woodchuck1957's profile

Woodchuck1957

944 posts in 2400 days


#7 posted 1968 days ago

You don’t need to add alot of preasure to the tool when sharpening, keep it light and steady, especially on the finer grits. A chisel and plane blade sharpening guide might be something to consider also for a precise and flat bevel.

View ChicoWoodnut's profile

ChicoWoodnut

904 posts in 2452 days


#8 posted 1968 days ago

Thanks WoodChuck. I have a Veritas guide but I’m trying to learn to do without it. It’s a PITA to set up.

I’m no Frank Klausz yet though.

-- Scott - Chico California http://chicowoodnut.home.comcast.net

View davidroberts's profile

davidroberts

1002 posts in 2122 days


#9 posted 1967 days ago

TheCarver: Regarding your comment about not needing a micro bevel when you hollow grind. Do you mean you do a hollow grind and that’s all? No honing a micro bevel? Just using the edge put on with the grinder? Thanks

-- God is great, wood is good. Let us thank Him for wood......and old hand tools.

View TheCaver's profile

TheCaver

288 posts in 2476 days


#10 posted 1967 days ago

A slight hollow grind hits the tip of the chisel and the heel, eliminating the need to microbevel, in essence, cause you get it right off the stone. Once you hit it lightly with the stone, you just need to polish it on a waterstone/sandpaper….

Check this out:

http://lumberjocks.com/TChisel/blog/8106

I bought 2 veritas jigs, a pinnacle plate, all kinds of crap that I didn’t need when starting out. I wished I had saved all that money and bought a T-3 (the lower end Tormek) or some LN chisels…..

Live and learn…..

Now, I sharpen everything by hand on sandpaper and touch up as I work. This has saved me immense time and I always have a sharp chisel handy….Stupid stupid stupid…..Just like my Leigh Superjig….All the time it takes to set up, I could cut them all by hand…..

Bah….

JC

-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

View ChicoWoodnut's profile

ChicoWoodnut

904 posts in 2452 days


#11 posted 1967 days ago

Thanks JC,

I followed yor link. That is good information. Now you have me lusting after a Tormek LOL.

Maybe after I master my hand sharpening technique.

-- Scott - Chico California http://chicowoodnut.home.comcast.net

View Woodchuck1957's profile

Woodchuck1957

944 posts in 2400 days


#12 posted 1967 days ago

I guess I don’t understand why it’s ok to trash aftermarket sharpening guides for stones, but it’s ok to use the guide on the Tormek.

View ChicoWoodnut's profile

ChicoWoodnut

904 posts in 2452 days


#13 posted 1967 days ago

Hi Woodchuck,

Putting the Veritas jig in a drawer is just my preference. I feel that if I take the time to learn to sharpen freehand I’ll be more productive in the long run. That’s just me though.

As for the Tormek, I don’t own one and won’t likely buy one any time soon. I think the point with the Tormek is that the wheel leaves a hollow grind, making touchup on stones, sandpaper or whatever quicker and easier. That’s because only a very small amount of metal at the heel and toe of the chisel bevel need to be honed. It’s the same reason Japanese chisels have a hollow ground back.

There are 10^100 ways to sharpen stuff. This is just the road I have chosen. (for now :)

-- Scott - Chico California http://chicowoodnut.home.comcast.net

View TheCaver's profile

TheCaver

288 posts in 2476 days


#14 posted 1965 days ago

Scott, I’m with ya man, I threw about $275 worth of jigs and stuff into a drawer a couple months ago in favor of just doing it by hand. This is not rocket science, and I find myself touching up all the time since its so easy…..On average, I believe I have much sharper chisels for longer amounts of time than I did with all that jig nonsense.

But the Tormek (the $389 one) is on my short list, BEHIND 3 LN chisels :).....A lot of people from NBSS recommend them….and those guys are all about fine furniture with hand tools….The work that comes out of that place is unbelievable and if they say its good enough to create $250,000 secretaries, than its good enough for my garage….

Woodchuck, even with the Tormek, you need to know how to do it by hand. The Tormek (or its cheaper equivalents) put a square, hollow grind on blades, and come in real handy when you ding a chisel up….not that I have ever done that ;)

JC

-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

View marcb's profile

marcb

762 posts in 2310 days


#15 posted 1963 days ago

Just freehand it on a grinder, its a learned skill just like freehand sharpening that will save you hundreds of dollars.

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